DSCOVR a Partnership of NOAA, NASA and U.S. Air Force

16396527372_c46bff194e_oIt takes a team to launch effective spacecraft and DSCOVR is an example of that. NOAA has worked with NASA to get the spacecraft ready for launch and the U.S. Air Force is providing the SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch DSCOVR. Once in place, DSCOVR will serve NOAA and the nation as an observatory of solar conditions.

Fueling Continues for Falcon 9

VentingLiquid oxygen at minus-297 degrees F is being pumped into the SpaceX Falcon 9 at this hour as the countdown continues toward a 6:05 p.m. EST liftoff. A portion of the propellant boils off during the countdown and is vented producing the cloud beside the rocket in this image. A trickle of liquid oxygen will be pumped into the tanks until the last moments of the countdown to replace the amount that boils off.

The nine Merlin engines on the first stage and single Merlin engine on the second stage burn refined kerosene and oxygen to power the rocket off the ground and send NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite into space. While launch preparations move ahead, launch teams remain focused on upper level winds which are still outside of limits.


SpaceX Falcon 9 on Launch Duty Today

Opening ShotNOAA’s DSCOVR spacecraft will launch atop a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Falcon 9 will put DSCOVR on a course to a region called L1 that is about a million miles from Earth. From there, DSCOVR will have a constant view of the sunlit side of Earth and the sun at the same time.  This will be the first deep space mission for NOAA and SpaceX.

The spacecraft is fitted with several instruments including two from NASA that will measure conditions on Earth as part of the agency’s continuing work to evaluate the planet’s climate.

DSCOVR_Wide shot

Forecaster Details Conditions

With one hour to go before today’s launch opportunity, Mike McAleenan of the 45th Space Wing just delivered a detailed forecast calling for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The concerns are for high winds at launch time. Controllers are evaluating data recorded by weather balloons that are periodically sent aloft to gauge conditions in the upper regions.